What is performance car insurance? 

If you're looking for more of an adrenaline rush than you get with a conventional family hatchback, you may be looking to splash out on a high performance car.

However, as anyone who already owns a performance car will know, the cost of performance car insurance does not come cheap.

Save time and money on your car insurance

Performance car insurance quotes are often much steeper than those offered to drivers who own a reliable run-around because performance vehicles are statistically more risky. They have more powerful engines than standard vehicles, which means they can reach high speeds very quickly. As a result, this type of car is more likely to be involved in an accident.

In addition, the cost of repairs is also generally higher, as the parts are often higher spec, plus specialist labour may be required. Equally, if you leave your gleaming performance car parked in public, it may well prove far more attractive to thieves and vandals than a standard family motor.

For all these reasons, the owners of high performance vehicles are viewed by insurers as more likely to claim on their policies. Not only this, but they are viewed as more likely to make costlier claims than other drivers.

Before signing on the dotted line for a flashy new set of wheels, it's worth knowing a little about how insurers calculate their premiums.

Premiums are worked out based on a number of factors including your gender, age and your address. On top of these variables, insurers will also check out the insurance group into which your chosen vehicle has been assigned.

All cars are placed into one of 50 car insurance groups, with those falling into the highest group costing more to insure than those falling into group one, or one of the lower groups.

The rating is worked out based on a number of factors including engine size, rate of acceleration, top speed and the cost of repairs.

Put simply, a car which has a small engine and which is less powerful and cheap to repair will fall into a low group - making this type of vehicle cheap to insure. By contrast, a performance car which has a larger engine and which is thus more powerful and more costly to repair will fall into a high price group.

As a result, you will have to fork out significantly more for performance car insurance than you will for a policy to cover a conventional set of wheels.

What about the different types of performance car?

When thinking about high performance car insurance, it's important to realise that more cars may require this type of cover than might first seem apparent.

While it may seem obvious to label a snazzy sports car with a performance car tag given that the manufacturer specification is higher than the average, there are several other types of car which also fall into this category.

You may not realise it, but if you own an imported vehicle from Japan, for example, you could find that your car is also placed into the performance car category. This is because many Japanese models are built to a higher specification than their European counterparts. You can read more about how these types of vehicles will affect your premiums on our imported car insurance page.

You may also be unaware of the need for specialist performance car cover if your vehicle has been modified - or if your pride and joy has been built from a kit.

For more information about types of car which may be labelled as performance vehicles, take advantage of our kit or modified car insurance guides.

You may be puzzled as to why modified car insurance quotes can end up being more costly than quotes for performance car insurance, but if you modify your motor in any way, insurers will see this as you having changed the original specification. This could be any kind of alteration, such as alloy wheels, bucket seats, or a roof spoiler.

Any modification means the safety of the vehicle could have been compromised. This, in turn, means there is an increased likelihood of the car being involved in a road accident.

Given that it can be difficult to check out the quality of the workmanship or the spec of the parts used, insurers will make their own judgment and err on the side of caution. This can result in hefty premiums, and could be the case even for modifications which are purely cosmetic.

Not only this, but if you make changes to your car, insurers take the view that you could end up making your car stand out more than other vehicles - making it more of a target for thieves and vandals.

The key thing to remember before making any modification to your motor is that you need to be prepared for the cost of your insurance policy to go up if you decide to go ahead.

While car insurance quotes could get more costly if you make a relatively minor change, such as adding an extra set of lights, the chances of higher premiums are increased significantly if you make a major change, such as lowering the suspension.

Unless you're happy paying more for your cover, you need to think carefully before making any alterations.

If you decide to go ahead with a modification, either discuss with your insurer before doing the work (to get an idea of any extra premiums you'll be charged) or tell it immediately the work is done. If you make a modification but don't tell the insurer, it might refuse to pay out in the event of your making a claim.

What about performance car insurance for young drivers?

While performance cars may appeal to drivers of all ages, it's often young drivers who find this type of vehicle particularly attractive.

The problem is, new drivers who have just passed their test already face some of the steepest quotes for car insurance because of their relative inexperience - and their increased likelihood of being in an accident and making a claim.

Insurers point to the number and size of claims made by young drivers as they often involve collisions at high speeds, and when there are several passengers in the car.

Insurers also point to the fact this age group are the most likely to make a claim for theft or vandalism.

Unsurprisingly then, the combination of a young driver and a high performance vehicle could send car insurance quotes rocketing sky high. That said, all is not lost if you are a young driver looking to take out cover on a performance car, as there are steps you can take to try and keep a lid on the size of your performance car insurance premium.

Here we look at some of the ways you can avoid costs spiralling out of control.

Drive down the cost of cover

Pass Plus qualification - young drivers could take the Pass Plus course, an additional driving qualification run by the Institute of Advanced Motorists, which helps you to improve your driving skills. The course covers various skills such as motorway driving, night-time driving, and how to deal with rush hour traffic.

By gaining this qualification, you reduce the likelihood of your being involved in an accident, and could then benefit from discounts on your car insurance of up to 35% per year.

For more information on Pass Plus visit our pass plus insurance page.

Add a named driver - another simple way to bring down the cost of car cover is by adding an older or more experienced named driver to the policy. This will reduce costs because insurers will assume that driving duties are being shared by all the drivers named on the policy.

That said, while young drivers can help bring costs down by adding an experienced motorist to their policy, if you are in reality the main driver, you must identify yourself as such on the policy. Naming someone else as the main driver is “fronting” and can invalidate your insurance, as it is illegal.

Boost security features - while some modifications, such as alloy wheels or extra lights, could attract higher premiums, there are certain changes you can make to your car which will help bring costs down. By adding a security-enhancing device such as an alarm or an immobiliser, you can attract cheaper car insurance premiums because you have lowered the statistical risk of the vehicle being stolen.

You should also try and park your car in a garage or driveway, as most insurers will give you a discount for keeping your car somewhere safe.

Reduce your mileage - it's grim but true: the more miles your drive, the higher the likelihood of you having an accident. But at least it means that an easy way to keep costs down is by driving fewer miles.

The less you drive, the lower the premium you will face, plus you will also make savings on petrol and general wear-and-tear costs.

It's vital to keep to the annual mileage allocation stated on your policy (you're asked to choose it when you run your quote), as if you exceed this, you risk rendering the policy invalid. If you think you're going to breach it, notify your insurer.

Compare deals

If you're looking to compare quotes for high performance car insurance, you can do so with a few clicks of a mouse at MoneySupermarket. The site enables you to compare deals from hundreds of insurers all in one place - helping you to find the right cover at the right price in just a matter of minutes.

Save time and money on your car insurance

†82% of shoppers obtained a quote in 5 minutes or less. Source eDigitalResearch December 2012.